December 14 – Appreciate What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it? (Author: Victoria Klein) via Reverb10

It seems cliché, but the first thing that popped into my head, was my health. I remember writing something on my Facebook status about how I treated the Windpocken like an unwelcome house guest when it first arrived on our doorstep. I told it to wipe its feet, and pretty much ignored it while it set up camp (in my body).

In my defense, I was under the impression I had had the chicken pox as a baby, and so couldn’t get it. About 15 years ago, I confronted my mother when there was an outbreak at my office. I remembered seeing a form she filled out for school, which listed my only ailment as ear infections. We were warned that since it was airborne disease, and the air in the office was a closed system, anyone who hadn’t had it, was probably going to get sick, and so I called her in a panic. This is when she explained that she had lied on those forms. Her explanation was that she didn’t want them to think that I was a sickly child. I tried to explain that that is not what they care about, but it was a moot point. I turned out to be fine.

Still, I took precautions. I slept on the couch. We didn’t touch each other. I washed my hands even more than usual. I vacuumed and changed the sheets frequently. I still don’t know if this was the first time, or the second. I was told that there are about three childhood diseases that resemble the chicken pox and can be misdiagnosed. I learned from my Aunt, that it is even possible to get 2 of them at once – she had chicken pox and measles at the same time as a girl.

You can imagine my shock and horror when I getting ready for bed that Wednesday night, I looked into the mirror and saw spots across my forehead. I told myself it was acne from the fevers I had been having. I was in some serious denial.

I do remember walking out into the living room where B was, with a look that conveyed my fear. I did utter the words, “But what if this is the Windpocken?”

His response was perfect. He told me we had gotten through the last two weeks, and we could get through this too. Of course at that point neither of us had any idea they would decide to admit me to the hospital.

I still can’t believe what I watched overtake my body. It almost seemed that anywhere there was sweat, a pox would appear. In places where sweat collected, like between my lower lip and chin and behind my ears, the pox were on top of each other, forming little pox mountains. I looked like I had the plague. As each hour passed, I took on a more monsterous form.

I was also amazed though by how my body fought. This invader really took hold, and yet it was clear that my body wasn’t about to cower. I am still not sure how I did everything I did in the days leading up to the actual outbreak of red dots across my skin.

I have always been grateful for my health, but now even more so. I have been working on getting rid of the scars left by the pox. This means lots more attention to my skin, and lots of lotion. I’m also trying to figure out how to contend with the Windpocken’s final blow, and how to get my hair back to normal.

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